Newtowne will make history this weekend as they play their first ever match in the last 32 of the Irish Cup against Armagh City.
Manager Michael Burns said that he has no injuries heading into Saturday’s cup tie at Holm Park and that his team are as strong as they are ever going to be.
Burns admits that Armagh, who play in the Championship One, are overwhelming favourites for the game while Newtowne play in the Ballymena and Provincial District League.
However, the Newtowne boss believes his side is still in with a chance and is demanding 100 per cent effort from his players: “Things are a bit more clear now than they were when the draw was just made. We have done a bit of homework on them. Armagh is probably the only one of the sides left in the draw that realistically we can compete with.
“We are going on Saturday with a realistic chance of competing and hopefully surprising a few people. The boys are excited, they are up for it. They (Armagh) are favourites. They are a Championship One team, massive favourites. We know that but we have a game plan and hopefully if we perform at 100 per cent then you never know.
“To be honest, what we are hoping for is that they don’t take us seriously. It’s only natural that if you are playing someone a few divisions below you that you start to think ‘we’ll be all right’. If we were playing someone a few divisions down from us, that would be something I would be trying to stop the players from doing. You say to them that they have to take it seriously but sometimes that doesn’t always work. So that is what we are hoping for, that Armagh turn up and they take us for granted. Sometimes that happens and that is what we are hoping they do.
“We are as well prepared as we can be. We have a report back on their system. We have done everything we can.
“Look, I want to go to the last 16. The last 32 is a fantastic achievement but the last 16 would be unbelievable. We can leave nothing behind. They are way ahead of us.
“We played Bangor recently who are another team who are way ahead of us and they were very complementary about us afterwards. It was a real lift to the whole club because they were saying to us that we are doing everything right and to keep doing it.
“We are as strong as we can be and we have no injuries. There are going to be some disappointed boys on Saturday but that is always the way. Everyone wants to play and you can’t pick everyone.
“From our point of view, we played Brantwood and drew two each at the weekend. We played a very good team who have beat Championship Two teams and we drew two each. The gap between Championship Two teams and the likes of ourselves isn’t absolutely massive but the gap between the likes of ourselves and Championship One teams is something else.
“We have to be on it, 100 per cent and they probably have to have a bad day as well. But you never know, sometimes that happens.”